A Day in Sacramento


The 4th and 5th grades classes journeyed to Sacramento on an all day trip on BART, Amtrak, tram, and bus to visit the state capitol building and Sutter’s Fort. The Eastenders and Skylighters were in rare form as we met in front of school at 6:30 am. Many parents came too, and the mood was buoyant. It seemed ambitious to travel entirely by public transportation, but it worked well and the kids adored the train trip along the Delta.

Once in Sacramento, where cherry trees were already in bloom, we trekked to the capitol building and met our tour guides. The kids seemed eager to share their knowledge and asked many great questions about democracy, law, and elections. We passed all the governors’ portraits and the bear statue that stands right outside the governor’s office (dubbed “bacteria bear” by capitol security guards because so many visitors touch it every day). We even had a quick chat with a representative from Santa Barbara.

Then we had lunch in the sunshine under the citrus trees, Anthony’s birthday cookies for Noa — and a civics lesson, as a rageaholic bench-sitter yelled at our appropriately rowdy kids enjoying a glorious day in the public park.

Sutter’s Fort was next. Kids were given a treasure hunt of sorts to complete and happily wandered the fort in search of clues and answers. Kids from other schools were there for the night and dressed in period garb. We watched the spinning of wool, roping of a makeshift steer, and baking of cinnamon rolls in an outdoor brick oven. Some kids bought ‘coon caps, others nuggets of gold. (I couldn’t get anyone interested in a Little House on the Prairie-style bonnet or a cookbook called Cooking with the Donner Party.)

Back on the train, the marquee event was a rousing game of Truth or Dare, still very little kid-like, even though many of the kids are on the brink of tween-dom. I often tell my son that 5th grade is one you’ll remember clearly. The indelible class trips and social and academic lessons are still vibrant in my own head from many years ago. Even with my somewhat jaded eyes I could tell this trip was a peak experience for most of the kids—one they won’t forget.

— By Darya Mead

Photos by Darya Mead

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